Archives for February 2012

Father Knows Best – Finally, Reasonable Parents Reject “The Bachelor”


(Spoiler Alert: If you’ve not watched this week’s episode of The Bachelor on your DVR, you might want to skip this article.)

I’m the mother of a young teenager who’s not dating yet, so I can only imagine a nervous young man asking her father for her hand in marriage. Many argue that the whole idea is chauvinistic and reminiscent to times when women were treated like objects. Most people, however, still think it’s a respectful gesture, an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a moment that dear old dad can really let his expectations be known.

Even on The Bachelor, a show not known for its traditional views on morality, the bachelor winnows down the crowd until there are only four remaining contenders.  That’s when things on the show get really serious, emotional, and – sometimes – complicated. This week on the show, Bachelor Ben Flajnik traveled all around the nation to visit the remaining four contestants’ families in what are known as “hometown dates.”

With each woman, he explores her hometown before sitting down at the table with her family.  There are polite questions, there are awkward pauses.  This allows the bachelor to get a feel for his potential future family and it allows the family to get a feel for the potential future son-in-law.

Normally, the conversations go something like this:

Dad: “You better treat my daughter right. She’s very precious to me.”

Bachelor: “I understand.   Thanks for letting me know.  I have begun to really like her.

Dad: “Why?”

Bachelor: “You know… Because she makes me feel good.”

Dad: “Well, she seems happy and that’s good enough for me.  You have my blessing.”

I’m always shocked  parents are so eager to approve of this complete stranger their daughter met on a reality television show.  Sometimes, parents give their blessing right off, usually with some kind of inane comment like “Well, marriage is a 50/50 gamble, so you just have to have the courage to take a risk.”

Sometimes, these parental interactions seal the deal, as the Bachelor envisions himself as a part of the family.  Sometimes, not so much.  For example, this week, one set of parents finally demonstrate they are less enamored with the set-up than their daughter.

Kacie Boguskie has been my favorite of the season.  She is kind, generous, and considerate in a show that encourages drama.  When she had her hometown date, she took Ben to her (and my!) home state of Tennessee.  While sitting in the stands of her old high school, she told him that her father is a federal probation officer and doesn’t drink. Ben, who is a long haired winemaker from California, is unnerved by this news:

“You’re in the Bible belt now,” she explained.

“I’ve always considered it the bourbon belt,” he laughed.

“Well that’s great,” he said in an off camera interview.  “I’m a winemaker and my business is booze. So strike one.”

When they arrived at Kacie’s home, the dinner table was nicely set up with crystal goblets holding ice tea.  Soon, however, everyone was breaking out into different rooms for personal conversations.

“Marriage is something that’s very, very, very serious,” Kacie’s father Denny told the bachelor. “Don’t rush into anything.”

Off camera, the bachelor senses the disapproval, and says, “I had a great conversation with Kacie’s father, but I don’t get the feeling he likes me.”

When Ben talked to Kacie’s mother, the conversation was even more direct.  She said she’s watched enough of the show to know the “winners” of the show end up living together prior to marriage.

“I have a serious problem with that,” she told him.

Upon hearing this, he looked absolutely flabbergasted.  He did manage to collect himself enough to mumble assurance that he shared their “traditional values.” Later in the episode, however, as he recounts the date to host Chris Harrison, he says he fully expects to co-habitate with his fiancé.  (He says this with the exasperation of a person having to explain why water is wet.)

In other words, Kacie and Ben don’t seem to share the same worldview.  In her pre-show interview, she answered some questions about what characteristics  she hoped to find in her future husband.  She answered, that she hoped he would be “outgoing, fun-loving, athletic, driven, goal oriented, sensitive but strong, not afraid to try new things, Christian, family oriented, and love children.”

But she didn’t seem to realize the ideological chasm that existed between her and Ben.  That’s when she sat down with her father outside during the hometown date, and he gently tries to talk sense into his daughter.  He asks her to prayerfully consider what she’s doing.  She assures him that she has prayed and has fully considered her actions.  He very pointedly asks her if she would move in with Ben if they became engaged, and she assures him she would never do that.

Kacie becomes increasingly upset that dear old dad is not impressed with her choice of men and that he doesn’t trust in her intuitions.

“I’m falling in love with him,” she tells him.

“But aren’t the other three girls as well?”

Silenced by the question, she says she doesn’t know.  But she knows.  She’s seen Ben take all of the other girls on dates, kiss in the pool, and exchange meaningful glances for weeks.  She knows that her dad is onto the truth, though she continues to plead her case.

“Ben and I have something that nobody else does, and you might think that’s naive,” she told him. “But I would say ‘yes’ if he were to ask me to marry me.”

Her father seemed pained as he gently responded, “Okay, if he was to ask me if he could marry you, I would probably say at this point, ‘No.’”

I’ve not watched every season of The Bachelor, but this may have been a first.  Even more impressive is when Kacie’s father – who senses the emotional calamity about to be wreaked upon his beautiful daughter – takes Ben aside and asks a favor.  If Ben knows he’s to end up with a different women, please end it soon to avoid more emotional damage.

And that’s exactly what happened.

At the end of the episode, Kacie is weeping in the limousine of shame, asking, “What happened?”

But the audience knows why she didn’t get the rose.

Kacie’s teetotalling, praying father scared the heck out of the Bachelor.  And even though she was devastated by the rejection, the viewers know that – especially in this case — father knows best.

Conservative Christian Parents Refuse to Give Blessing to the “Bachelor”

Fans of The Bachelor know how easily  parents of the love-stricken girls give their marital blessing to a complete stranger on the famous “hometown dates.”

Not Kacie Boguskie’s parents.  In what might be a first, her conservative Christian parents met her potential husband…  and said no.  Read how they handled the awkward meal they shared with “the bachelor” in their Tennessee home in this article called “Father Knows Best.”

Rick Santorum’s Pro-Choice Past

On Tuesday morning, Rick Santorum’s spokesman Hogan Gidley was interviewed by MSNBC.  He said something that we’ve all gotten quite used to on the campaign trail – yet another slam against Gov. Romney for becoming pro-life.  In extolling his own candidate, he said:

“I mean, that’s who he is,” Gidley said. “He doesn’t have to tack to the right on social issues like Mitt Romney because he actually firmly believes those things.”

However, this morning, I came across this interesting Huffington Post article which shows that Santorum apparently was pro-choice until he ran for public office:

In a December 1995 Philadelphia Magazine article — which the Huffington Post pulled from Temple University archives — Santorum conceded that he “was basically pro-choice all my life, until I ran for Congress… But it had never been something I thought about.” Asked why he changed his mind, he said that he “sat down and read the literature. Scientific literature,” only to correct himself and note that religion was a part of it too.

So why does this matter?  Aren’t we glad when people change their minds?  Of course!  We have maintained for years that pro-lifers should be thrilled when we win converts from the pro-abortion mindset.  Is that why we’re having conversations across the country?  To convince people to change?  So why, when people do actually change their minds, do we wag our finger at them and say, “Well, that took you long enough.”

In other words, Santorum’s pride and arrogance towards Gov. Romney – a man much more qualified to run this country – is unjustified and offensive. You didn’t see this contempt towards Fred Thompson (who ran as a pro-choice candidate in 1994 in Tennessee) and you didn’t even see it towards Rick Perry (who endorsed the ONLY pro-choice candidate in 2008).

Gov. Romney had a pro-life conversion as did a lot of candidates – including Sen. Santorum. Let’s retire the condescension and be thankful that our message of life is resonating.

See also: Santorum is Running for Pastor-in-Chief

Rick Santorum: Running for President, Pastor, or Both?

For years — when questioned about Mitt Romney’s faith — Nancy and I have responded with some version of the following: “He’s running for commander-in-chief, not pastor-in-chief, and his core political values are your core political values.”

What we meant was clear.  Mitt wasn’t going to be spending time as president discussing Joseph Smith or any unique point of Mormon doctrine.  Instead, he was going to concentrate on shared values — supporting life, marriage, and religious liberty, for example — and focus on fixing our economy and defending our country.  These shared values stretch across religious lines and unite more than they divide.  Baptists and Catholics and Mormons may not agree on a number of theological fronts, but they are united in supporting life, supporting marriage, and preserving religious liberty.

Rick Santorum is testing the limits of this formula.  Yes, he shares the same broad political values as Mitt Romney and the other Republican candidates — and no one questions his pro-life credentials — but he’s now doing something that I’m not sure I’ve seen from a mainstream Republican candidate: He’s going beyond the shared values of the Republican coalition to making narrow denominational arguments on hot-button social issues.

Let’s take contraception.  All of the GOP candidates agree that Obama’s HHS mandate, which requires Christian institutions to make free contraceptives (and abortifacients) available to their employees, represents a grotesque violation of religious liberty, but only Rick Santorum says this:

One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”

It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

There’s a lot I agree with in that statement, but there’s a lot that I disagree with as well.  I don’t agree with the Catholic church on the theology of contraception.  I respect the Catholic view, but I don’t agree.  And I certainly don’t want my president wasting his limited political capital picking a theological fight on this issue.

And that’s not all, of course.  He’s talked about the “phony theology” of Barack Obama’s environmentalism, and he’s singled out certain kinds of pre-natal testing as especially offensive.  He’s also essentially written mainline denominations out of the Christian faith.

To be clear, there are ways of contesting radical environmentalism — including the more fanatical elements which (as Senator Santorum rightly noted) value the environment more than people — without making the kinds of arguments I’ve heard from the pulpit.  And you can certainly oppose mandates on free-market and liberty grounds without singling out amniocentesis for particular scorn.  As for the spiritual plight of mainline denominations . . . well, I’m just not sure that’s a matter of presidential concern.  (Nor are such sweeping statements helpful or accurate).

I like Rick Santorum.  He’s been a congressional hero of the pro-life movement, and he’s articulating the connection between the breakdown of the family and persistent economic distress better than anyone else in the race.  He was sounding the alarm on Iran years ago — when no one wanted to hear him.  But he’s on the verge of moving from the good Rick Santorum who won two senate elections as a conservative in a moderate state to bad Rick Santorum whose appeal became increasingly denominational and alienated potential allies.  Bad Rick Santorum seemed almost indifferent to winning over moderates, independents, libertarians, and even social conservatives who didn’t agree with everything he said.  Bad Rick Santorum lost in a landslide in 2006.

A presidential candidate simply cannot win a race (and likely can’t even win an extended primary contest) making in essence pastoral, denominational arguments when more ecumenical values and liberty-based arguments accomplish much the same purpose.

See also Rick Santorum’s Pro-Choice Past

My New Ruger LC9

I bought a new gun last week, and apparently I’m not the only one!

Read “How Women and Girls are Taking Up Guns.”